When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

The Daring Bakers’: Pizza and Toppings Challenge October 29, 2008

Filed under: Pizza,The Daring Bakers' — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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This months Daring Bakers’ Challenge was chosen by Rosa of Rosa’s Yummy Yums, Sher of What Did You Eat?, and Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food.  Sher tragicly passed away in July, and Glenna, a close friend, decided to not partake in the challenge to have time to heal.  This months challenge for the Daring Bakers’ is dedicated to Sher.

This months challenge was to make a pizza crust (recipe given) and it had to have a sauce and topping.  We were given the opportunity to be as creative as we wanted to be.  When I first saw the challenge the first thing I read was that we were going to have to take a picture of ourselves throwing the pizza (more…)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes October 28, 2008

Filed under: Baking,Cupcakes,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Clara of I Heart Food4Thought she chose Dorie’s Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes on pages 215-217 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.  It took be awhile to getting around to making these bcause I was trying to be good about sweets lately.  But that never really works.  I finally put these off to the last minute and made the Monday night.



My Search for Mother’s Cookies…The Holy Grail October 27, 2008

Filed under: Cookies — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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As we all know Mother’s Cookies is going out of business.  I found out earlier this month via Anna’s Blog, Cookie Madness, and The Food Librarian. (more…)


Moist and Perfect Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting October 22, 2008

Filed under: Baking,Cake — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Last week I ended up making a Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting for one of my friends for her birthday.  Since it was a last minute thing I actually searched for a chocolate cake and frosting recipe in one hour and then made the cake after work, late at night.  I made the frosting the next morning and frosted the cake right before I gave it to her.

Funny thing is I have never made this cake or the frosting before, so I had to go to a source that I trusted.  I ended up turning to Martha, Martha Stewart that is.  She has never done me wrong, and still hasn’t 🙂  I turned to the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.  I was trying to find a recipe for chocolate cake and chocolate frosting and actual have all the ingredients in my apartment to actually make the cake and frosting.  I searched through all of the cake recipes and couldn’t find anything.  Then I came across a recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, and it had a option on the bottom of the recipe to bake as cakes instead of cupcakes.  It made either 24 cupcakes or two 9 x 2 inch round cakes.

PERFECT!!!  extra bonus for having all the ingredients.

The cake was so easy to make and to top it off the batter was fantastic.  The cake turned out moist and chocolaty 🙂

Now to find a frosting recipe.  I knew from the first time that I saw the picture for the Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting that I had found the perfect frosting.  Just the way the frosting looked one the cake was fantastic.  I turn to the recipe in the cookbook and I had all of the ingredients except the chocolate on hand.  I ran by the store the next morning to pick up the chocolate so that I could knock this recipe out.

I only had one problem with the frosting.  I didn’t completely follow Martha’s directions about cooling the chocolate to room temperature because I actually had to finish the cake in one hour (make frosting, frost cake, and assemble).  So, I guess you could say I was in a bit of a hurry.  I made the frosting according to the rest of the directions and then place it in the freezer to firm up a little for the next 10 minutes.  It turned out great, and I was only 5 minutes late.

But of course I forgot to take a picture of the cake 😦

Well, the best part was seeing my friends face when she saw the cake.  She loved it.  That night she dug into the cake and said it was great and that everyone that was eating it was making yummy noises.  That make me so happy.  I never got a slice of the cake but I did eat the scraps left from when I leveled the cake, along with licking the batter and frosting bowls.  All I have to say is Martha knows her stuff 🙂

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes – cake style

Source: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4  teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Source: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart

1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on counter top, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up.  Spread entire cake with remaining frosting.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Pumpkin Muffins October 21, 2008

Filed under: Baking,Muffins,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp.  She chose Dorie’s Pumpkin Muffins which is located on page 13 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.  I actually ended up making this recipe 2 weeks ago with the left over pumpkin that I had from making the Pumpkin-Spice Doughnuts.  I didn’t want the pumpkin to go bad and I woke up on Monday morning 2 weeks ago just craving pumpkin muffins.  So I went to work that morning and made a batch. (more…)


Spiced Cranberry Bundt Cake October 20, 2008

Filed under: Baking,Cake — pastrybrush @ 3:48 pm
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When I received the November 2008 issue of Bon Appetite, I was instantly pulled in by the recipe for a Spiced Cranberry Bundt Cake.  Not until later when I actually sat down and read the magazine did I realize that the recipe was from Dorie Greenspan, along with the accompanying article.  I guess I don’t pay too much attention when I am reading sometimes because come to find out that Dorie is actually doing a three part write up for Bon Appetite amply named The Baker.  This being the second part.  The first part was a Bacon Cheddar Quick Bread with Dried Pears.   I will have to try that recipe when I am craving a savory quick bread. (more…)


Vegan Adventure #23 and VeganMofo #8: Vegan Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts October 16, 2008

Filed under: Baking,Doughnuts,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Okay I finally did it.  I made the Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts from my previous post vegan.

They tasted fantastic.  There is no way that anyone would be able to tell the difference between the vegan and the non vegan versions. (more…)